December 24, 2009

A Holiday Market Update

Twas the night before Christmas and all 'cross the net
People were still shopping, getting closer to debt
The economy was starting to slowly recover
So what's a few more charges on Visa and Discover?

Free shipping was offered, a discount on wrapping?
Those people on QVC just kept on with their yapping
"Order now and you'll get a special addition..."
Getting crap we don't need is an American Christmas tradition

If a new home's in your future for the year 2010
You should probably start looking for a bank who will lend
They'll all gladly approve you with good cheer and glee
But can they provide you with a new GFE?

If this will be your first home that your thinking of finding
Be sure the April 30th closing is totally binding
If you have everything signed and closed by that day
You're eligible for a Home Buyer Tax Credit up to $8K

What about a home owner who's thinking of moving?
Well you're future has recently started improving
You can earn a nice break so try and hold back your tears
As long as you've been in your house for five of the last eight years

The Sellers out there should start realizing
Home sales the last 6 months have been steadily rising
The prices are now stable, they're coming alive
But they're nowhere near the levels of 2005

So don't be outrageous and shoot for the moon
If you price it too high you'll still be there in June
You've got to appeal to their sense of perception
Position it right to attract buyer attention

It should be extra clean and have good curb appeal
Price it to sell, it should look like a steal
The buyers will scurry and dig into their coffers
If you're lucky you'll be dealing with multiple offers

One thing is for certain as you look to the new year
Don't make emotional choices, you'll have to think clear
Here's some simple advice, you certainly deserve this
Hire a Realtor who will give you "truly remarkable service"

If "building relationships" is task number one
They can probably "solve problems" and "have lots of fun"
They're the agent for you and your family's transaction
I can almost guarantee your total satisfaction

Now to the hard working agents who have joined us this year
I raise a glass to you all filled with holiday cheer
There's no doubt that you all will be true market leaders
Thanks for being such loyal Realtor's Toolbox blog readers.

Merry Christmas!

May you all enjoy a prosperous 2010.


December 22, 2009

The More You Learn...

One of my favorite books is a small, stock-stuffer of a book called Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On: People Ages 5 to 95 Share What They've Discovered about Life, Love, and Other Good Stuff by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It's got funny thoughts from a number of people but it never tell you who said the quote, it just notes their age. Here's an example:

"I've learned that I shouldn't get out of the shower to answer the phone. It will stop ringing the minute I get to it." - Age 53

The book is a favorite of one of my mentors (and #75 in my 101 Most Influential People), Kim Daugherty. He shares many of the funnier "lessons learned" with his classes he teaches.

What Matters Now

Last week, master marketing guru and best selling author Seth Godin released a free e-Book to the masses called What Matters Now. I spent the last few days reading this collection of one-page essays by assorted authors, speakers, bloggers, doctors and average people.


Some of the topics in the eBook interested me, some of them bored me, some of them challenged me to think and others motivated me to act. All of them inspired me to share the project with you but not without adding my own essay of sorts.

Lessons Learned by Sean Carpenter

What Is the "meaning of life"? Does anyone ever figure it all out? Do you think there's somebody out there that has all the answers? When you reach the pearly gates of Heaven, do you think St. Peter asks you to sit down with a #2 pencil and take an entrance exam? If he did, do you really think anyone would ace the test?

A few years ago I was lucky enough to be certified to teach the Integrity Coaching and Selling Courses. The creator of those programs is a man named Ron Willingham. In one of his audio CD's that came with the courses he said "the more you learn, the more you learn there is to learn."

Ain't that the truth.

I've also learned...

* You can't put a price on a child's laughter
* I hate snow but I love to watch it fall
* I don't get as nervous, worried or stressed out watching a double overtime ball game if I don't care which team wins
* People will read a hand-written note more than once
* Diet Coke tastes better from McDonald's
* I have more energy after a strenuous morning run than days when I sleep in late
* You can't make people learn anything until they want to learn it
* The more I listen to other people's ideas, the clearer mine usually become

* One of the easiest ways to bring back childhood memories is to lick the bowl after making brownies
* I'll never "know it all" but that shouldn't stop me from learning more than I know today
* To stop writing when the blog post is feeling like it's getting too long

What have you learned in 2009?

December 20, 2009

Are You Leveraging the Home Buyer Tax Credit?

Has the market called a "time out"?

As the holiday coma begins to settle around the real estate community, it's probably the perfect time to begin to prepare some ideas to get out of the blocks quick in 2010.

The Home Buyer Tax Credit created a flurry of first time home buyer activity in the fall. Much of the activity occurred in the final month in anticipation of it ending on November 30th. Agents were feverishly working their social networks, sending mailers and even calling their sphere of influence to encourage those who might be renting or living with Mom & Dad to consider buying a house and taking advantage of the credit. The message was simple - "It was like $8,000 dropping into your bank account." All the other benefits of home ownership was almost secondary to this wonderful "gift" from Uncle Sam.

Activity was brisk and plenty of people were jumping in to take advantage. There were plenty of people rushing to meet the November 30th deadline. As can be expected there was still a good number of people sitting on the sidelines, wondering if the deal would get extended or even sweetened. Why buy now if I can wait, right? Why not see if my credit will go up?

The credit was extended in mid-November and will now last until April 30th, 2010 for closings that occur before June 30th, 2009. Our government even added another level of credit for those homeowners who have been in their current home at least 5 of the last 8 years. If they decide to buy a house, they will receive a $6,500 tax credit. (Some restrictions apply. See this link for more information)

What's Your Hurry?

Not surprisingly, people are now waiting. It seems that people are sitting back, thinking they have plenty of time to "kick tires" and wait for the best deals to appear before their eyes. It also seems that the real estate community has decided to ease up on the promotion of the tax credit as well. I guess most Realtors are figuring that there's no apparent urgency now, so they might as well get rested up before the big push in March and April?

I think these next few weeks are the ideal time to get back to promoting some of the "whys" of taking advantage of the tax credit instead of just saying "what it is." In your conversations with your friends, family and potential 2010 clients, discuss some of the things they could do with the amount they would get back? Think of how many warm conversations you'll be in over these next few weeks? Holiday parties, family gatherings, casual conversations in the mall or gym?

Need some examples? Coldwell Banker recently conducted a survey of consumers asking what they would do with a tax credit if they were a buyer that qualified for the $8,000 credit:

Of the more than 1,000 homeowners surveyed, 83 percent responded that if they were to purchase a home and qualify for the tax credit, they would engage in "smart spending" or put the money toward paying off existing debts, home improvements, savings/investments, or everyday household expenses. Only 6 percent of respondents indicated that they would spend the money on what are commonly referred to as luxury items such as a vacation or a shopping spree.

The survey also asked people who might qualify for the "move up" incentive how they would spend the $6,500 credit:

According to the survey, the top way homeowners would spend their $6,500 tax credit in a "smart" way would be to pay off debts (34 percent), followed closely by making home improvements (29 percent) and putting it into savings and investments (28 percent).

I hope these results are giving you some ideas on how you can turn those boring conversations of what the tax credit is into why a renter or home owner should be considering a purchase. Highlight the concept of $6,500 less in household debt, along with a new, roomier (or smaller) home. Calculate the expected growth of $6,500 in savings coupled with the equity they might realize in a new home purchased at bottom (or close to it) of a house market considered on of the worst in decades. People can really begin to imagine a better picture of "why" they should react, as opposed to "what" they are reacting to.

The survey found that...

"20 percent of homeowners indicated they were more likely to consider purchasing a home than they were six months ago, after learning about the $6,500 federal tax credit."

Coldwell Banker President and CEO Jim Gillespie said "our survey offers positive indicators that there are more existing homeowners considering a home purchase today than there were six months ago, and the majority of respondents say they would engage in 'smart spending' that would directly benefit the U.S. economy."

How Would You Spend $8,000?
Hopefully some of these results help show you that you should be promoting this wonderful opportunity to all the people in your data base, neighborhood and sphere of influence. Remember that the people you're talking to will need to understand more about the "benefits" of the credit than the "features" of the credit. Remember, your message should answer the question - "What's in it for them?"

If you want to read the whole article on the Coldwell Banker survey, click here. To learn more about the details of the expanded home buyer tax credit, go to

Don't wait until late spring to return to promoting this opportunity for your clients and customers. Sellers who want to take advantage of the credit on their next home should get their homes on the market at an attractive asking price as soon as possible. That will give them the best chance to not only capture a buyer on their home, but also find a great home that they and their family can move into.

Then they can begin to figure out the smartest way to use that tax credit.

December 19, 2009

Hey Independent Contractor - Are You Outstanding?

"Last Call"

It's about the time when the bartender will kick on the house lights and let people know that it's almost time to go. As the band Semisonic sang in their hit song Closing Time, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."

These next few weeks before the end of the year are an exciting time for most people. Of course there's the holiday festivities and the many different celebrations, events and activities that go along with them. There's the beginning of the winter weather season, bringing excitement for the skiers among us and dread for the golfers. Depending on household makeup, you might have some kids who are excited for a few weeks out of the classroom.

But for those of you reading this who might be classified by our friends at the IRS as an independent contractor, there's really no rest for the weary, is there? We're trying to tie up those loose ends of 2009 and perhaps secure a few more closings on this years ledger while preparing our marketing ideas and business plans for 2010.

As the temperatures get cooler and the television shows transition into rerun after rerun, it just might be time to hit your local bookstore and grab a good book. I'd like to let you know about a new one that should make it into your "must read" pile. It just might give you some ideas, inspiration or items for your "to do list" in the new year. It's all about making your company or organization exceptional. As an independent contractor that means making "You, Inc." exceptional.

Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional is by John G. Miller. Many of you may recognize that name. That's because John is also the author of, probably, my favorite book. It's one that I recommend to all my students and audiences. It's called QBQ! The Question Behind the Question and it's all about personal accountability. (Perhaps both of these would be great additions to your bookshelf? And no, I don't make any royalties off these books)

I always enjoy Miller's books for their simple messages and easy to read style. I respectfully refer to them as "Treadmill Books." The print is large enough and the chapters short enough that you can read it while your walking on the treadmill. For those of you who will get back to the treadmill on January 1 as part of your annual "This year I mean it" resolution, test it out and see if you agree.

Most Realtors, managers brokers and owners are always seeking to "become better." Making those concerted efforts at the turn of a new year seems like a fresh start (although there is never a bad time to start a "become better" campaign). If you're ready to strive for more "outstanding" service, experiences and feedback in 2010, go out and get the book - Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional

To give you a feel for the book, a few of my favorite chapters in the book are:
  • Chapter Five - See Everyone as a Customer

This sure is true in our world of real estate, isn't it? We never really know who our next customer will be or where they will come from. It also speaks to treating our co-workers, staffs and affiliates with the same respect and professionalism as we would those who will help us reach a commission check in the near future.

  • Chapter 15 - Do What You Promise

Once you've been in this business a while, you really become amazed at how appreciative people can be when you just do what you say. It's a simple concept that shouldn't be too hard to figure out but you'll quickly realize how often it doesn't happen. What can you do in your daily routine to make people feel that you walk and talk the "under promise, over deliver" motto?

  • Chapter 18 - Make No Excuses!

Here a great message from this chapter - "In truth, there actually are reasons things go awry: people make mistakes, the ball gets dropped, stuff happens. Life can be complicated, confusing, and complex. Because of this, any one of us on any given day could go on and on with "reasons." But when we attempt to exonerate ourselves with explanations, all they sound like are excuses - and, of course, that's all they really are. What we need to do, instead, is look to ourselves and ask, "What can I do?" and get to work solving the problem."

I'm pretty sure I said "Amen!" to myself after that paragraph.

  • Chapter 38 - Be Coachable

How many of you are actively coaching with your manager, broker, owner or some other mentor? How many of you allow yourself to listen to their words, thoughts, wisdom and feedback with an open mind? Seek out coaching in 2010 and be open to the possibility that you could achieve even more with some help from others.

  • Chapter 42 - Treat Vendors Like People

Sure, you're an independent contractor but your success in getting clients to the closing table is rarely a one person job. You rely on lenders, inspectors, appraisers, service providers, title companies, attorneys and many more to "get the ball across the goal line." If you really want to be outstanding in 2010, read this chapter more than once.

So what are you waiting for? The lights just came on. It's time to order that final libation of the year, raise a toast to the successes of 2009 and get ready to be outstanding in 2010.

Grab the book and a warm spot on the couch or close to the fire and enjoy! Outstanding! is going on my suggested reading list for 2010. Who knows, maybe it will go on yours as well?

Happy Holidays to all my Toolbox readers. Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...and Have Fun!

December 6, 2009

Turning a Blind (Side) Eye to Your Critics

How do you react to criticism? Do you use it positively - channeling the ideas and comments from others to develop your services or skills? Do you ignore it, continuing to do what you do? Do you react negatively to it, causing you to get distracted and off focus from your goals and plans?

Critics come in many forms. Some are just bystanders, looking to get in some "cheap shot from the peanut gallery" while others are just doing their job. They are paid to be critical of others work and efforts. Sometimes criticism can come in the form of "constructive criticism" where the critic is aiming to help you. It seems to me that today's society has made being a "critic" easier than ever.

People can comment on blogs, web sites and chat boards, often doing so anonymously. When their is no accountability for their actions or comments, it allows for a bit of a "take no prisoners" approach. Facebook now has a "Like" button so people can share when they concur or enjoy your post or update without engaging in too much input or commentary. There's even a push going around for the social networking site to add a "Dislike" button so it is easier to disagree with people or make them feel that they are least from one person's standpoint. Is that really necessary? People would be afraid to post anything anymore.

Can you imagine posting pictures of your child and having someone opt to "dislike" them? Ouch!

I recently saw the movie The Blind Side. It's a motion picture version of the true-life story of football player Michael Oher. Oher overcame a life of poverty and neglect when he was welcomed in by an affluent Memphis area family and developed into a college star and eventually a first round NFL draft pick. Oher now starts on the offensive line for the Baltimore Ravens.

I really enjoyed the movie and it seems that many others have as well. It continues to deliver good box office results and most people I know who have seen it seem to have enjoyed it. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me when I found out that many critics really disliked this movie, some to the point of writing scathing commentary and articles. maybe these reviewers are bitter over getting cut from their high school football teams?

Oh well, what can we do about our critics or those who don't share our feelings or thoughts? Ignoring them is certainly one option. Listening to them with an open mind is another. Perhaps asking ourselves why would this person have such a different viewpoint on the same product?

As we get ready to turn the page on the year (and decade) it might be a good time to ask yourself this question - How do you react to the critics in your life?

Will you choose to listen to them, learn from them or just let it go?

Fot those of you who haven't seen the movie, enjoy this short trailer for The Blind Side. If you get a chance to see it in theatres (or on DVD), I think you'll like it. I know I did.

If you don't like it, don't blame it on me. I'm not a professional critic.

December 1, 2009

Thirsty for Business?

This was the real estate market in 2005

This is the real estate market
heading into 2010

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water."

- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

If you want to quench your thirst for success in 2010, you had better be prepared to start pumping, keep pumping...and pump some more.

November 25, 2009

101 Reasons Why I Am Here - Part III

(Read post I of III first)
(Read post II of III first)

In this three-part post, I have been recognizing those 101 people who have influenced me in my life and career. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to use this forum to show my gratitude and appreciation to all of them who have played a big part in my life.

Part I focused on the first two parts of my life, family and college. Part II allowed me to recognize the people who have impacted my role directly in my career - specifically in golf and real estate.

This last part will focus on those other people who have helped me in my journey in and around the real estate field. I'll call this segment "Innocent Bystanders...or Accomplices?"

75) Kim Daugherty - The real reason I am in the role I am now is because of Kim. As one of the best real estate speaker/trainers in the industry, Kim was presenting at the Coldwell Banker International Business Conference in San Diego back in February 2002. Sitting in Kim's session that day, I turned to #55 Fred Kierner and said, "That's what I want to do. I want to be Kim Daugherty when I grow up."

Long story short, three years later when our current company president, #46 Joe King came to town and asked me where I saw myself in 5 years, I said, "I don't want to be a manager. I want to be Kim Daugherty." Joe, having come to Ohio from Kim's home company of Coldwell Banker Gundaker in St. Louis, knew of Kim's skills and 6 months later, he gave me the opportunity to take over the role of Director of Agent Development for the two Ohio companies.

Kim has been a outstanding mentor and resource for any question or concern I have ever had. If I can "grow up" to be half the trainer and speaker that Kim is, my students and audiences will all be in for a treat.

76) Gary Kopco - Another wonderful educator and mentor who has reached out to help me get where I am today, offering materials, ideas and opportunities. His ability to create courses and facilitator guides is second-to-none.

77) Chris Leader, (78) John Hamilton, (79) Bryan Dodge, (80) Rich Sands, (81) Matthew Ferrara, (82) Amy Chorew, (83) David Knox & (84) Rick Deluca - While Kim and Gary are both great speakers, they also hold a similar role to me in their respective cities and states. Chris, John, Bryan, Rich, Matthew, Amy, David and Rick are all national speakers and trainers and a great source of inspiration for me as I continue to gain opportunities to speak to real estate audiences nationally. These speakers each deliver timely educational, inspirational and motivational messages that all share one thing in common - enjoy what you do!

85) David Horowitz - In the role of Director of Education with my parent company, David was my first contact in bridging from management into education. I had the opportunity to attend a three-day training session that eventually became the vehicle to show my educational and training skills.

86) Ron Willingham - Creator and founder of the Integrity Selling and Integrity Coaching programs that David invited me to attend and learn to facilitate. A very, very wise man who I always thought was a blend of UCLA coaching legend John Wooden and Forrest Gump.

87) Alice Taylor Baker & (88) Jerry Smith - Facilitators and trainers of the Integrity courses. They helped me understand how I could show people that sales was a worthwhile and meaningful career.

89) John Wdowiak, (90) Cheryl Stephan & (91) Kim Binkowski - Three of the coolest people you'll ever meet. I shared the Integrity Coaching and Integrity Selling experiences with them and have maintained a wonderful relationship with each of them.

92) Jim Gillespie - The President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. Never too big to talk to the common agent, Jim is a true leader of one of the largest, oldest real estate companies in the world. He takes time to listen to the members of his team, regardless of their role and voice. It's always easier to sleep on a flight when you trust that the pilot is good at what he or she does. Coldwell Banker can rest easy with Jim Gillespie at the controls.

93) Rich May - While he is no longer in this role, Rich used to be the Director of Education for the Coldwell Banker brand. Rich was the first person to give me an opportunity to speak in front of a national audience at the Coldwell Banker International Business Conference in 2007 (thanks to a personal referral from #85 David Horowitz). The success I enjoyed at that event has allowed me to speak to more and larger audiences. As my mission statement says, "I teach with passion and enthusiasm, instilling confidence and excitement in my audiences."

94) Patty Cullim - The person who put me on the calendar at that IBC event, and multiple more Coldwell Banker events, including the 2008 and 2009 IBC's and the 2008 Global Management Summit. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with people like Patty who work so hard to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.

95) All of my students - I have had a chance to teach/present/speak to/ work with/ facilitate for thousands of people over the last several years. It has been a pleasure to work with each and every one of you. I hope you'll continue to work towards your goals and have fun in everything you do. We're very lucky to be in a career like real estate so don't forget to enjoy it. Remember what I told you..."Live your life and let real estate happen in the cracks."

96) Seth Godin - A brilliant mind who doesn't always do things the way everyone else does. Regardless of what line of work you're in, do yourself a favor and subscribe to his blog. He'll make you think differently...which isn't a bad thing.

97) John A. Miller - Author of one of my favorite books of all time - QBQ! The Question Behind the Question. I read it every New Year's Eve so I can be ready to take personal accountability in the new year. Read it and you'll see why he's on my list of influential people in my life.

98) Jack Nicklaus - I don't personally know Mr. Nicklaus, but the Golden Bear is from my hometown of Upper Arlington, Ohio. My first paying job was working as a caddy at Jack's boyhood course, Scioto Country Club. I began playing golf at The Ohio State University Golf Club and am a member there today. On the wall of the pro shop hangs a plaque that reads "The Ohio State University Golf Club - Collegiate Home of The Greatest Golfer Ever to Play the Game." Wouldn't it be cool to have a plaque like that some day about you?

99) Tiger Woods - Once again, I don't know Mr. Woods but he has had a huge impact on the way I do what it is that I do. He never settles for "good enough." I use the video below in my presentations and speaking engagements. It's from a 60 Minutes interview that Tiger did several years ago. Listen to Tiger's answer to Ed Bradley when he asks why Tiger changed his swing.

Tiger inspires me to "become better"!

100) Steven & (101) Kristine Doster - My very first clients. We worked tirelessly to find them a house and, after putting 300+ miles on the car, we closed on a house in Pataskala, Ohio. Just think, if that hadn't worked out, I wonder where I'd be now?

So that's it. The 101 people who have had the most influence on date. If you're name didn't appear on this list, don't worry or get offended. I hope to have plenty of blog posts in the new year and beyond so you never know when I'll run out of topics and maybe you'll get mentioned then.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to all of the readers and followers of The Realtor's Toolbox. Perhaps you'll be among those mentioned in my next list?

Until then...keep building relationships...solving problems...and having fun!

101 Reasons Why I Am Here - Part II

(Read Post I of III first)

Welcome back. These Thanksgiving edition posts are a way for me to recognize and thank those people who have played a major role in my life. In the first post I recognized those people from my family and school years who have had a huge impact on my success. In this post, we'll focus on the people who have affected me in the work force.

Welcome to the Real World...Now Get a Job!

39) Bill Knapp's - No, this isn't a real person, but it was my first actual employment. As a bus boy, I started learning the impact every person has in a service industry - from the greeter to the waitresses, the cooks to the dishwashers, the bus boys to the cashiers. Everyone contributes to the customer experience.

40) Stan Cooke - Director of Golf at World Woods Golf Club - Welcomed me into the golf business and gave me an opportunity to learn the joys of working with the public.

41) Dominic Antenucci - Dom was the head pro of a private club outside of Cleveland. On a visit to Central Florida for the PGA Merchandise Show, we luckily connected. After a round of golf and a great dinner, I was on my way to Northern Ohio to work for Avon Oaks Country Club. Dom is the best boss I have ever had when it comes to dealing with people. His style, class and demeanor taught me more about handling personal relationships than any class or book ever could. He was a master at handling an irate customer or member. He would simply listen, pause and then, in a hushed, understanding tone say "I'm sorry that happened to you. What can I do to make it right?" A lesson and a leader I will never forget.

Time to Build a Career in Real Estate because "Nobody Knows Homes Like a Carpenter"

42)Bonnie Nyikes - I loved my career as a beer salesman for a Miller and Coors distributor but I didn't really get a chance to be a true "salesman." I was more of an order-taker. Ronda and I had really enjoyed the process of buying our first home so I reached out to Bonnie, who was our Realtor. I asked her if she thought I could be successful in real estate. The rest, as they say, is history. Thanks for being honest with me and helping me get started on my way.

43) Bob Kidwell - My first manager (and also my parent's Realtor way back in 1970 when they bought their home in Upper Arlington that my brothers and I grew up in). The "Captain" as he is better known, is a true character and a great mentor.

44) Pat Grabill, (45) Mike Huntley, (46) Joe King, (47) Jerry White, (48)Glen Wilson & (49) Joe Reis - These guys have all been, in some form or fashion, my bosses these last 13 years in real estate. Each of them has helped to guide me and teach me how to succeed in the real estate arena. While each of them has their own style of leadership, they all have been able to share ideas, experiences and wisdom. They also have provided continuous support and appreciation for my contributions and efforts.

50) Alice DeHoff - My real estate trainer when I first began my career. Hard to imagine back then that I would now hold that same responsibility with our company.

51) Nancy Trout - Another mentor of mine who helped build the role I now hold. Nancy teaches with passion and a raw emotion that is evident to all who took a class with her. I am thrilled that she is back in a management position with a broker in North Carolina. I hope she's enjoying her new role and the proximity to her grandchildren.

52) Leslie Zimmerman, 53) Kathy Shiflet, 54) Jessica Hogg, 55) Fred Kierner, 56) Gloria Cannon, (57) Barbie Hoyt, (58) Patrick Guanciale, (59) Andrew Guanciale & (60) Gretchen McKay - A tremendous group of Realtors and friends. We sure have shared some good times these last few years, huh? I am so proud of all of you and always happy to help you achieve the levels of success you deserve

61) Molly McGovern Rawdon - My first assistant who helped me reach new levels of success while helping me learn to be the "boss man."

62) Mary Brummel - One of the best executive assistants ever. Mary worked tirelessly to make #44-#49 above look good and she did it with a smile on her face. She had a way to make you feel like everything she did was extra special...just for you.

63) Michelle Smurthwaite, (64) Marilyn Stace & (65) Kathi Doppelt - The best staff an office manager could have. Supportive, loyal and fun. They all aimed to take care of the customer first. Thanks for making me look good the way Mary Brummel made her bosses look good.

66) Larry Metzger - The fearless Executive Officer of the Columbus Board of Realtors and one of the best representatives of our industry, Larry is best buddies with #43) Bob Kidwell. As an active volunteer with the CBR for most of my first 10 years as a Realtor, I was able to serve in a Board of Directors role and work closely with Larry. If you want to learn how to be a great ambassador for a group, cause or effort, spend five minutes with Larry Metzger.

67) Jane Nipps, (68) Jim Wimmers, (69) Rick Walker, (70)Randy Wax & (71) Dori Gehling - Some of my "guiding lights" since I have been in my leadership role with my company. Along with many other unnamed managers and department leaders, these people have served as mentors, sounding boards, shoulders of support and much, much more. They are each brilliant and skilled in what they do and are always willing to share to make the whole better than the sum of it's parts. I am proud to be on your team.

72) Jim Stevenson - To have had a chance to work with a brilliant mind like Jim's must have been similar to caddying for Ben Hogan or being Muhammad Ali's sparring partner. You know you're around a rare talent and you enjoy every second of it. Onward!

73) Sarah Poston & (74) Susan Trefilek - These two ladies are the Training Coordinators for the two companies I work for. That means they do all the things it takes to make me look good. Sarah covers the Columbus company and Susan handles the Cincinnati company. As the engineer, I get to hang my head out and wave to the children and people watching the big engine roll by. These ladies are the heart and soul of my career - continually putting the coal in the engines to keep me moving forward and always making sure I am on the right track. Thanks ladies for helping me "become better!"

Obviously with 20+ years in the work force, there are many who deserve thanks and recognition. I sincerely have enjoyed every opportunity I have been given in my life and know that each moment has been a learning opportunity for the enxt.

In the third and final post, I'll recognize and appreciate some of the other people who have played a major role in helping me get to where I am today.

November 22, 2009

101 Reasons Why I Am Here - Part I

This post marks my 101st addition to The Realtor's Toolbox blog. From my very first post back in March 2008 to the brink of a new decade in a few weeks, it's been a learning experience, a chance to share ideas and thoughts with many people and, oh yeah...a ton of fun.

2010 will be my 13th year in the real estate industry. From my early years (born in Billings, Montana 1967, lived in Ithaca, New York and moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1970) to my first job as a busboy and now my current role as The Director of Agent Development with Coldwell Banker King Thompson in central Ohio and Coldwell Banker West Shell in the Greater Cincinnati area, I kind of agree with The Grateful Dead when they sing "what a long strange trip it's been."

I'd like to use this 101st post (and 102nd and 103rd) to recognize and appreciate the 101 Most Influential People in my Life. These are the people who have gotten me to where I am at today. While there is no way to rank these in order of importance, some of the names will deserve some extra words, disclaimers or words of appreciation.


1) Jot Carpenter - My father passed away unexpectedly nearly 10 years ago and I often wonder what he would think of me ending up as a teacher. I am sure he would be proud of me... He always was, regardless of what I did. It certainly is more evident now that he's gone how much influence he had on me and those he worked so hard to reach when he would teach. The number of former students that my brothers and I spoke to at his funeral that said my Dad helped them be what they are today has left a desire in my heart to always strive to make people around me better. Thanks for everything Dad!

2) Claire Carpenter - A lifelong teacher, Mom has been my biggest fan and supporter. If there's any specific influence that she has bequeathed to me, it's the constant encouragement to achieve your dreams. There's an old saying that "leaders are readers" so anyone who knows my Mom knows what type of a leader she is. Thanks for everything Mom!

3) Ronda Carpenter - My wife of 16 years and friend of 25+ years (we met in high school art class). She's someone who has supported me and been a much needed grounding wire in my fast paced world. While she prefers to stay "behind the scenes" she is amazing at helping me "do my thing."

4) Riley & (4) Ryan Carpenter - Two of the best kids in the world. Thanks for understanding that I work so hard so I can help you enjoy life and be whatever it is that you want to be. I love getting a chance to be young again with you. You are both wonderful.

5) Jot Carpenter, Jr. & 6) Kevin Carpenter - Two awesome brothers, two awesome friends. I easily rank as the third smartest son in the family. They have always been the best supporters of me in whatever it is that I have done. Kevin was my #1 client when I was an active agent (along with his wife Elizabeth) and for that, I am very grateful. Many great "real-life stories" that were created have allowed me to speak with genuine sincerity with my students. (For the record, I am sure that if Jot lived in central Ohio, he would be a great client as well)

7) Grace Dunn (My Nana on my mom's side) - Everyone has that special grandparent. Nana was mine.

8) Jane Wamester, (9) David Wamester and (10) Jay Wamester - Aunt and cousins on my mother's side. Tremendous amount of business ethic and skills from this family. Dedication and passion for what they do has made them great examples of hard work to me throughout my career.

11) Jot T. Carpenter (My "Pop" on my father's side) - With all due respect to Og Mandino, my Pop was "the greatest salesman in the world." A lifelong salesman for Florsheim and Clarks of England, my grandpa could sell. I got to spend a summer with him "working the stores" throughout Florida and his skill and attitude with his clients helped me develop my philosophy of success in real estate - Build relationships...solve problems...and have fun.

12) Uncle Peter & (13) Aunt Jane Carpenter - Two of the smartest, most compassionate people on the face of this earth. Their willingness to help people is contagious.

14) Jonathan Carpenter - I am in awe at all that my cousin Jonathan has accomplished in his lifetime. Harvard education, travelled half the world, worked in the other half of it. He is one of the smoothest dudes I know. It would not surprise me to see Jonathan running for...and being elected President of the United States sometime soon.

15) Ron & (16) Sharon Turscak - My father and mother-in-law. They have been so supportive of me for the last 25 years, first as the protective parents to my girlfriend and then, from that day I asked for Ronda's hand in marriage, as my second set of parents.

High School Buddies

17) David Dilenschneider & (18) Matt Allaire - I know it's hard to believe that out of a class of 500+ graduates that I would only list two people here. Until Facebook brought me back in touch with many of my classmates, these are the two guys who I have kept in the best touch with since those days back at Upper Arlington High School - Class of '85. They were in my wedding and I appreciate all the years of friendship we have shared.

Here Come the Gators

19) Carl Bergeron - The Resident Advisor in my un-air conditioned dormitory (Rawlings Hall) at The University of Florida. Carl invited me and some fellow residents to a cookout the first evening we arrived. That cookout turned out to be at his fraternity house - Delta Upsilon. Looking back, that cookout had a major impact on my life and allowed me to add the next 18 people to this list

20) Tom Sandberg & (21) Marc Jackson - Fellow Rawlings Hall residents and two of the funniest guys I know. Tom is a true friend who is perhaps one of the biggest Gator fans alive. Marc was the first black friend I ever had. He really showed me that the color of your skin has nothing to do with the content of your character.

22) Matt Corey, (23) Tim Burch, (25) Jim Daniel, (26) Rick Marshall & (27) Norm Cuadra - Five members of the "Fall '85" Pledge Class of Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Of course there were others in that pledge class, but these guys were some of the best buddies an out-of-state kid could have ever had.

28) Brian Marmaud - My DU "Big Brother" - Not sure where is is now, but I hope he's doing well. He really helped me acclimate to college life and find my voice as a future leader in the fraternity. I hope you're well River Dawg!

29) Joe Amos & 30) Andy Hallums - Joe was the Pledge Education Officer and Andy was the President when I joined Delta Upsilon. I hope that my son gets introduced to two guys as cool as these two when he heads off to college.

31) Jim Mullaney - It's certainly hard to assign the title of "best friend" among a "band of brothers" like the men in this section of the list without offending the others, but Jim is probably that guy. One of the smartest people I have ever known, his loyalty, sense of humor and quest for knowledge is incredible. Jim rode "shotgun" on some of the most outrageous adventures and road trips ever travelled. All Hail, Artemis Stanos!
32) Bill Loehle, (33) Tim Logan, (34) Pete Reichert, (35) Todd Meininger, (36) Pete Blank, Jr. &

(37) Ross Bilbrey - Much like the Fall '85 list, I probably could have added many more names here, but this core group of men, along with the others listed above, made my college years in Gainesville what it was - A memorable, thrilling experience that rewards me with pleasant memories almost daily. I'll look forward to more opportunities we'll have to gather together over a football weekend, family vacation or any other reason we can come up with. "Son, you know you got a beer box on your head?"

Same Fraternity...Different School

38) Joe Estes - One of the wonderful things about being a part of a fraternity is the lifelong relationships you can create. Joe was a DU from The University of South Carolina and he happened to be the Chapter President the same year I was the President of the Florida Chapter. We met at a regional leadership event and the rest is history. It's just a bonus that he and his lovely wife live on the way down to our summer vacation spot in Hilton Head, SC so each year there is a reason to visit.

Wow, the first 22 years of my life went by quickly, didn't they?

In the next segment of this post, I'll recognize some of the people who have influenced me in my different careers.

Click here to jump to Part II of III

What Do You Expect - Part II

In our last blog post, we focused on the expectations Buyers may have when searching for a house and how to best handle them. Now let's talk about the expectations we might encounter from the Sellers we will work with.

It's been said that most Sellers want the same five things when utilizing the services of a Realtor in the sale of their house - Price, Time, Convenience, Communication & Diligent Effort.

They want the highest price the shortest amount of time...with the least amount of inconvenience. They also want to have good communication between themselves and the agent they hire and they would like to see a diligent effort by the Realtor.

Would you say that those factors are important and should be addressed with every Seller we work with? I think so, too. I also feel that in exchange for our ability to deliver on those expectations that we should be fairly compensated for it. So if we're hoping to obtain a fell fee for the full services we are asked to provide, let's discuss how we can address these five expectations of most Sellers.

Get Me the Highest Price Possible

Pricing is perhaps the hardest thing we do in our jobs when it comes to Seller representation. If we really knew the exact price the house would sell for in the exact time the Sellers wanted, we would have a long line of clients waiting to work with us.

We must first use a blend of statistical analysis (Competitive Market Analysis) and personal experience to determine the proper price for a home. Remember the old saying that says "a house is only worth what the best offer obtainable from the best Buyer available in the current market is" so we must focus on attracting the "best Buyers available."

Use Logic, Not Emotion

Every sale involves both logic and emotion. When selling a house, what do you think the Seller will have more of? That's right...emotion. So which do you think you, as the professional, should have more of?

Try not to get emotionally sucked in to the Sellers emotions of raising their children in the house, feeling their pain of their financial pressures or riding the "ego train" to be the highest price in the neighborhood. You've got to share the logical information that will best position the house to attract that "best Buyer available" that we mentioned earlier.

What About Building in "Wiggle Room"?

Remind your Sellers that most Buyers don't negotiate to market value, they negotiate from market value. When today's savvy Buyers find a great home at a price that is at or close to "market value," they are less focused on negotiating the Sellers down as they are focused on not losing the house to another market savvy Buyer. If it starts out too high, those same savvy Buyers will keep looking until they perceive some value.

It's a Matter of Timing

If Sellers start the process thinking it's going to take them 9-12 months to get their house sold, do you think they are realistic about their asking price? Have they watched other homes in the neighborhood hit the market at one price only to drop their prices monthly and eventually sell for 85-90% of their original listing price after a year? Yet, they want to start their listing at the same price as their neighbors original asking price because "their house is better!"?

Come prepared to show them how that neighbor ended up costing themselves - in lost opportunity, added mortgage and carrying costs and possibly savings on their next home.

Easy Does It?

Sellers often don't realize how stressful it could be to sell a house. Let's share with them all that it takes to prepare for showings...and that's just a start. The house remaining clean and available to unknown buyers and agents on a daily basis can get old real quick. Making sure the house is ready to show at any given time might be the best chance to avoid missing the next "buyer." Consider using a professional home-stager as well as suggesting the Sellers order a pre-inspection of their home to avoid any unforeseen issues once the property does sell. And now might be a good time to let them know that once it gets "into contract" that the work is just beginning. Getting it to the closing table is a whole separate level of work.

Let's Stay In Touch

If there is one common complaint we hear from most disgruntled Sellers or from those listings that have "expired" with their last listings agent, it's that they "never heard from their agent." Please don't let this happen to you. Establish at the initial meeting how the client prefers to be communicated with. Do they prefer phone calls? E-mails? Text messages? In person?

Once you know how they want to be communicated with, establish the expectations of how often and why you will communicate with them. Then it's up to you to fulfill their expectations.

Here's what I suggest you say or do:

"Mr. & Mrs. Seller. I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with you and help you get your home sold and your family to Atlanta"

"I pride myself on my communication and feel that it will be important for us to have a regularly scheduled time to talk each week so I can keep you informed and up-to date. On those weekly calls, we'll discuss the happenings of the market, specifically our competition - what's sold, who has dropped prices, what has gone pending and any listings that may have expired or been withdrawn."

"We'll also discuss the weekly marketing efforts we will make to attract the best Buyers and keep you informed of Buyer activity in your neighborhood and price range as well as any other factors which may affect your homes perception of value in the market."

"Right now, I make those Seller Update calls on Monday or Wednesday afternoons, between 4 and 6pm. Which time slot will work best for you?"

If you did this on a regular basis, do you think it would eliminate the ability for your Sellers to say they never hear from you? If they had a concern and it was Tuesday evening, do you think they may just wait until you call them on Wednesday during your regularly scheduled call?

You might be surprised that you hardly ever have to discuss "repositioning" their home from a pricing standpoint. After sharing with them news about their competition dropping prices, going into contract or new homes hitting the market, just ask them if their time frame to get to their next destination is still the same. They'll begin to get the idea that they need to be properly priced to attract those "best buyers."

Are Your Trying Your Hardest?

Realtors are not magicians. We can't make houses sell just because we or the Sellers want them to. What we can do is be honest with our clients, provide them with the necessary information to make good decisions and then deliver on the promises we made to our clients to provide truly remarkable service.

Establishing these expectations at the beginning of our relationships with Sellers and then always reminding ourselves of those expectations will help us continue to offer full service efforts. When we under promise and over deliver with today's Sellers, it sure does make it easier to cash those checks for our full fee. When we give the clients what they expect, it seems fair that we get what we expect, doesn't it?

Until next time, keep building relationships...solving problems...and having fun!

What Do You Expect?

If you want to truly be in control of your business, it's a really good idea to make sure everyone knows what is expected of each other when you begin a new relationship, don't you think? It doesn't matter what the situation is, this is a good rule to live by.

~ At your job, shouldn't the boss outline his or her expectations of the employees so all parties are working towards the same goal?

~ At a restaurant, is it fair that the customer expects good service to go along with tasty food and at the same time, be willing to pay a price commensurate with that service and food quality? Add in a comfortable atmosphere and ambiance and both parties win?

~ Don't relationships seem to work out better when everyone knows where the other person "is coming from"?

Understanding and establishing the proper expectations of Buyers and Sellers is one of the first things we should seek to do when working with new clients. Let's take a look at some of the basic expectations we should clear up at our initial meetings with prospective clients.

"Are Buyers Really...Liars?"

Have you ever heard that saying before? I hear it a lot but it's usually "behind the scenes" in the back hallways and workrooms of a real estate office. It seems to be said more often by agents who haven't taken the time to have a serious conversation with their Buyers before starting the process.

It drives me crazy that Realtors would think that their Buyer clients would actually set out to lie to them, wasting their own time and that of their agent. I just think Buyers don't really know what they want, where they want it or what they can afford.

There are three main areas of expectations we should focus on with Buyers:

Price Range - How much house can they get for the amount of money they are willing to invest in the transaction? If you've ever heard the expression "champagne taste and beer budget," then you've probably worked with a Buyer who just doesn't know what their money will get in a given market. By establishing this up front and educating the client on locations, house styles and amenities, many of the frustrations that Buyers and Realtors experience will be eliminated.

Time Frame - Is the client ready to be a "buyer" the first time they go out and start looking at houses or are they just a "looker"? What is their current living situation? Are they currently in a lease for the next 9-12 months or is their urgency such that they need to find a home sooner rather than later? Figure this out before you start driving around town "kicking tires."

Let Me Show You How I Work - Do you think that some buyers might have some misconceived ideas of what the role of the Realtor is? Take the time up front to explain how agency representation works in your local market, how showings are set up and how the MLS system might work with property feeds in comparison to Internet sites like, and other branded websites or your local company sites.

When a client knows that you have access to the most up-to-date information through the MLS and what they may see on the branded sites might be 48-72 hours old, perhaps they'll leave the searching to you...instead of finding homes out of their price range, in areas/neighborhoods they had no interest in or without the amenities they stated they "must have." We've all heard it before, right?

"We just want to take a look."

"Sure, it's out of our price range by $40,000...but the Sellers could always come down, couldn't they"

"It's not really that far 'out of the way', is it?"

Another thing to take into consideration with Buyers is what they expect out of the house they're purchasing. Here is a great video that I found on Coldwell Banker On Location. It comes from the folks at This Old House. It is ideal for that nervous Buyer that needs to know how long things may last in their new home. After watching it, it might be a video that you add to your Buyer Counseling Sessions or email to your clients after starting to work together so they have some of the knowledge they will need to make good decisions. Imagine something so simple as a 3 minute video helping remove some of that Buyer Remorse they may experience after writing a contract?

What other expectations do you think Buyers have when purchasing a home in today's market that we can establish or understand at the beginning of the transaction, instead of trying to "make it up as we go."?

We'll discuss Seller expectations in our next blog post.

November 15, 2009

Major League Appreciation

I had a wonderful opportunity last week to work with groups in three of America's best cities. Three cities that are as "major league" as you can get. I'm talking about Pittsburgh, Dallas and Denver.

These three cities have 13 Super Bowl Championships and 6 Stanley Cups between them. I just wanted to use this forum to show my appreciation to the fine people who not only brought me in to speak to their teams but also to continue to challenge those people who heard my presentations.

My week started in my hometown of Columbus before I headed east to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was scheduled to meet with two groups of associates and managers from the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage team in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

On my way over, I stopped to see a good buddy and fellow real estate instructor, John Hamilton on his family farm in Eighty Four, PA. John always has some great wisdom and captivating yarns that passed the time quickly. I appreciate the time he spent with me discussing ways to get better in my agent development and speaking careers. Hey John, please give a "shout out" to your lovely wife Ginny and her delicious homemade Black Raspberry pie.

The two groups in Pittsburgh were wonderful and very engaging. It's always nice when people show up early and claim seats in the front row. I think both morning and afternoon sessions enjoyed learning about the many tools, tips and techniques that they have in "The Realtor's Toolbox" and based on the great feedback I have received so far, it sounds like they are putting it into action.

Special thanks to Cheryl Stephan, John Wdowiak and CB Pittsburgh President, George Hackett for bringing me in to spend the day with your teams. Keep up the great work and leadership.

The middle of the week took me down to one of my favorite cities in the country - Dallas, Texas.
After landing at DFW and receiving the "dime store" tour of the North Dallas suburbs from my driver (thanks Dave), I arrived at the lovely Renaissance in Richardson, Texas. A relaxing afternoon led to a wonderful dinner with the leadership team of Coldwell Banker Apex and their broker/owner Lori Arnold. We enjoyed a wonderful discussion on the Greater Dallas real estate market, the challenges that they are facing and the positive outlook for 2010 they all shared for their agents and clients they work with.

Thursday was their big Mini IBC company event and saw over 300 agents start the day with a wonderful trade show featuring 30+ vendors. I was very proud to serve as the keynote speaker, delivering a presentation called "Get in the Game ~ Score Big in 2010...and Have a Ball Doing It." After lunch, the CB Apex leadership team did a wonderful job of securing 18 high energy breakout sessions with several star panels, technology sessions and great energy by all the speakers. They even had a big give away for a sales promotion where one agent won a $5,000 bonus.

Once again, big thanks to Lori Arnold, managers Melba Frye Davis, Debbie Karalla Holland, Sarah Lee Rose, Mickey Fletcher and my good buddy and Julie Gezella. I hope your agents were as pumped up as I was afterwards from the energy in that room Thursday morning.

My week wasn't over so after a flight from DFW to Denver, I travelled 60 miles west to Black Hawk, Colorado in anticipation of the Coldwell Banker Colorado Previews Top 100 event. A dark ride through the mountains ended at the brand new Ameristar Spa and Resort, a lovely casino/hotel in the new gaming area 45 minutes from the Mile High City. (Actually, Black Hawk is at 8043 elevation)

Friday's presentation was titled "2010: Taking Your Business to the Next Level." The audience was truly the "best of the best" in a very successful market, led by my good buddy and fellow Integrity Coaching student Chris Mygatt. Mygatt is the President of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Denver and the outskirt resort areas of central Colorado.

It was an honor to speak to this group of top producers and hope that I delivered some useful tools and inspiration to maintain their success and even reach new heights. (Hard to do when you're already a mile and a half above sea level).
A special thanks go out to CBRB Marketing Director Todd Moir for his hard work and efforts on this event.
To all the people who planned, coordinated and attended the sessions this week, I thank you for making these events special. I have just have two words for you to think about this week...
Become Better!
Until next relationships...solve problems...and have fun!

November 11, 2009

That's Not a Magic Wand...It's a Stick!

Put down that champagne, turn down the music and quit counting your money.

It seems that since last week's announcement of the extension of the Tax Credit for First Time Home Buyers (as well as the added expansion to include current Sellers who have been in their current home for 5+ years) that many Realtors feel the lines will begin forming soon to "sign on the dotted line." It's not that easy.

While these reforms are exciting and will help sustain the positive movement most real estate markets are experiencing around the country, it doesn't mean we should be thinking the hedonistic days of earlier in the decade will return any time soon. The efforts to get this extension done took a tremendous amount of effort, spearheaded by the National Association of Realtors as well as Richard Smith, CEO of Realogy, the world's largest brokerage operator, and many others. (See video below from

But please realize...this isn't a magic wand. It is a stick to whip those professional Realtors back into action. Daily prospecting efforts must begin to start notifying all the people you know about this news. Sure, it's important to us...because we're in real estate. The truth is that most people didn't wake up today with a need for real estate. Future/potential Buyers or Sellers will not see this as anything other than a blurb on the ticker they see from the treadmill at the gym.

Did you think about vacuums today? How about a chiropractic realignment? A new car? For most of you, until you just read those last few questions, you didn't. That's the same with most consumers. If they don't need it, they don't need to know about it. I don't think about my doctor unless I'm sick. I don't think about my mechanic until my check engine light comes on.

This is where you come in. It's time to let people know this great opportunity. Maybe they won't take advantage of it but someone they might know will.

So post it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, blast it out in e-Mail, blog about it to your networks. Find a reason to make this important to someone. trust me, the business is out there but it's not looking for you. You need to go out and find it.

So what are you waiting for? Start prospecting today...
Until next time, remember to Build Realtionships...Solve Problems...and Have fun!

November 8, 2009

Give it that old college "buy"?

Back when you were in college did you live in the dorms? Maybe you shared an apartment with a few buddies? Did you live for a few years in a fraternity or sorority house? Maybe you were a commuter who still lived at home with Mom & Dad?

Well now that you're a grown up (maybe) and may soon have kids heading off to college, it might be a smart idea for you to consider investing in a home for your kids to live in during their collegiate years and don't just invest in their education.

Each year Coldwell Banker comes out with the Home Price Comparison Index so people across the country can see how their area would stack up with other areas from a pricing standpoint. Another aspect of this report is to see how the local college towns rank compared to each other.

Here's a fun video that Coldwell Banker put together to show you how things can get a bit competitive when dicussing anything about your school...

So how does your old stomping ground stack up with your rival? How about your spouse's or significant other's Alma mater? There just might be some more ammunition for the upcoming Rivalry Weeks in these reports. Just remember, this report doesn't say these towns or better (or worse), it just helps see how far your money might go.

In case you're going to end up spending more in a different city where your kids might be attending, don't worry. Just find a local fraternity member - he'll be able to tell you where to find the best deals on everything else.

October 23, 2009

Ah yes...I remember it well

I thought I would share a funny email that I recently received with my Tool Heads. I try to share a little motivation at the beginning of the week so I figured a little humor heading into the weekend might be in order.


When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. You know the stories about way back when they were growing up... what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that . . . I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!
I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalogue!!
There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3' s or Napsters! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and the tape would come undone.

That's how we rolled, dig?

We didn't have fancy crap like "call waiting"! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it! There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD !!! Think of the horror.

Then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation or Wii video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel! NO REMOTES!!!

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or before!

The Over 30 Crowd

Keep building relationships...solving problems...and having fun!

October 18, 2009

Monday Morning Match - How Do You Spell Overwhelmed?

How do you spell "overwhelmed"?

Is it just me or can this business called real estate sometimes really overwhelm you? Between the "no standard schedule" schedule and the "need it yesterday" pace, it's no wonder that Happy Hour on Friday can't come soon enough.

Whenever I talk about time management and life balance in my classes, I always seem to hear some snickers and sighs from the audience. Most people seem to operate from a reactionary or defensive position instead of being "on offense" or in control.

Three P's for Pain in your Day

If you want to continue to feel overwhelmed, disorganized and always that "step behind," here are three P's (definitions courtesy of to have in your toolbox:
  • Petulance - Unreasonably irritable or ill-tempered
  • Procrastination - To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness
  • Pessimism - tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view
Just reading those words might cause some reaction in your head or heart. Does your procrastination cause you to exhibit a petulant attitude? When you get overwhelmed, doesn't it seem easier to allow those negative feeling to creep into your mind?

Four P's for Pleasure in Your Day

Starting today, make the choice to look at your job (or life) a bit differently. Eliminate those feelings of being overwhelmed by focusing on these 4 P's for pleasure in your day:
  • Plan
  • Prioritize
  • Perform
  • Play

It's simple to see, isn't it?

Plan what you need to do each day, maybe even before you leave the office the night before. Write down those tasks, big or little, that you think need to get done in the next work day. This should be everything that comes into your mind. Some people try to create their "to do" list before they head home each night, creating a symbolistic chasm between work time and personal time. Others keep a list in their Day Planner, Outlook or smart phone and it becomes a working document each night. Who among us hasn't had one more thing we need to do pop into our heads before bed?

Prioritize your list of tasks before you do anything at the beginning of the day...even before you check your email, voice mail or Facebook page. Ask yourself which of the activities or tasks written on your list will most directly result in achievement of one of your goals? For most of you in real estate there should be two things that receive the highest priority - Appointments and Closings.

Every task or activity should pass the following test before taking it's final spot in your "to do" list; "Will doing this get me closer to a closing or appointment with a potential client?"

If yes, it needs a high priority. If no, it should move lower on the list.

Now you need to perform the top priority items on your list and make every effort to complete them before starting another task or "to do" item. Develop the discipline to stick with a task until it's completion.

If you can plan, prioritize and perform each day, you should have time to play. Define that as you wish but it might mean spend time with family, enjoy a round of golf, go for a run, enjoy friends or charity work or anything that might be fun for you.

As you look at the upcoming week, what will you focus on? The three P's of Pain or the 4 P's of Pleasure?